BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Second-ranked Blaze Shade grabbed an early lead with a takedown in the opening minute, but top-ranked and undefeated Nick Becker tallied a takedown in each period to key an 8-4 decision over Shade in the 174-pound national championship match on Saturday evening in Birmingham, Ala.
Saturday evening’s title bout was a rematch of last year’s national championship in which Becker prevailed by a 9-3 decision. Becker also registered wins over Shade at the Midwest Classic in December, as well as the championship match of the NCAA Midwest Super Regional on February 25.
Shade began his day with a hard-fought overtime win in the semifinals against third-ranked Adam Cooling. Both wrestlers tacked up a single point via escapes in regulation, before Shade slipped by Cooling in the tiebreak round. It was just the third loss of the season for the senior from Minnesota State-Mankato.
Shade wraps up his career in the Black & Gold with a 124-29 (.810) career record, three all-America honors and 20 trips to the podium (top 8 finish) over the last four years. His 124 career victories ranks fifth all-time in program history, while his 42 victories last season is good enough for fourth on the single season wins list.
The UNC Pembroke wrestling team compiled 15 points en route to a 25th-place finish (42 total teams) at the event. It is the eighth-straight top-25 finish for the Braves.